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Washington seeks federal recognition of US Bicycle Route 10

Image from WA Bikes
Image from WA Bikes

Earlier this month, Washington submitted an application for official recognition of US Bicycle Route 10, the state’s first addition to the in-development nation-wide network of bicycle routes. If approved, it would also be among the first such routes on the west coast.

Filed jointly by WSDOT and Washington Bikes, the application for USBR 10 would gain Federal designation as a cross-country bike route and provide a strong foundation for investments in bike travel and tourism efforts across the state.

Drawing a line on a map is easy. But designating an official US Bicycle Route is a huge amount of work, and has been a labor of love by Washington Bikes leaders from around the state like John Pope, Barb Culp and Lynn O’Connor. In fact, the work to create the route could prove to be a big part of the value of the process since it involves engaging nearly every community along the way.

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The application will go before the May 28 meeting of the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Special Committee on US Route Numbering. Here’s how Pope described the process in a spring 2013 blog post:

The USBRS process involves working with jurisdictions and cyclists along a conceptual route corridor, selecting destination towns and finding the most bike-friendly combination of roads. Once the nominated route is complete, it is reviewed once again by the jurisdictions (towns, counties and WSDOT regions). The draft nomination then needs approval from the top transportation directors of the affected adjacent state, our state and finally the AASHTO USBRS numbering committee.

Someday, US Bicycle Routes could criss-cross Washington. WSDOT image
Someday, US Bicycle Routes could criss-cross Washington. WSDOT image

More details from WA Bikes:

Earlier this month, an application for official recognition of US Bicycle Route 10 — Washington State’s first in the US Bicycle Route System — was jointly submitted by Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington Bikes. The application went to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and will be reviewed by the Special Committee on US Route Numbering at their May meeting.

USBR 10 travels 416 miles across the northern tier of our state. It will continue into Idaho to the east and connect to the San Juan Islands and Canada at its western terminus in Anacortes via Washington State Ferries. This route climbs four mountain passes, including Sherman Pass at 5575 feet, and takes the bicycle traveler through spectacular landscapes and friendly towns.

Our on-the-ground work to create USBR 10 took over two years and has been a labor of love for WAbikes board member and mapping volunteer John Pope of Anacortes. We owe a round of high fives to him, Barb Culp of Seattle and Lynn O’Connor of Colville for their field work and energy.

You can preview route maps and sign up to receive an announcement about the official designation and celebration on our USBR 10 page.

The US Bicycle Route System is a developing network of national bicycle routes that has been championed by Adventure Cycling Association. Nearly 6000 miles of US Bike Routes have been established in a dozen states so far. Currently, over 40 states are working on creating US Bicycle Routes.

Here’s a look at what the complete USBR system could look like some day (dark lines show routes already approved):


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9 responses to “Washington seeks federal recognition of US Bicycle Route 10”

  1. […] – I’m looking forward to someday riding on US Bike Route 10. […]

  2. It’s a bit discouraging how this hasn’t yet seen too many comments; this sort of route is very helpful for those who use bicycles for intercity travel.

  3. This whole system will be amazing, but we definitely need to show as much support as possible. If this route is approved, it can open up access to so much of Washington.

    I have been planning a route from AK to Argentina and have been looking at the best ways through Washington. I am excited for the 10 route, but I think the future proposed 87 route is the most promising. Connecting Seattle and Portland by another route other than STP will be huge for the bike community and will allow an awesome about of people to explore Mt. Rainier on their way.

  4. psf

    Does anyone know why rt 14 (Seattle to Spokane) isn’t first?
    Given the iron horse trail, seems like it must be much closer to reality than the more northern route.

    1. If you go by the national map, it may be partly dependent on what WSDOT ends up having in mind for route 87 and whether or not their map is as synchronized with the national map as it’s going to get. But if the WSDOT map is reasonably what you can expect it to eventually be, there should be some momentum to designate it once the Mountains-to-Sound Trail is finished.

      By the way, if you track down some of the already-designated sections and open them in Google Street View, they’re basically ordinary roads with no obvious accommodation for bikes at all, just a few signs marking the route.

      1. Also, one guy basically led the effort in this case and he happened to be from Anacortes, so…

  5. […] state in the union, AGAIN. Washington is also seeking a new national designation for our east-way bikeway across the state (Route 10). We’re hoping it gets a big yes for signing.The Seattle Department of Transportation has a […]

  6. […] Feds gave USBR 10 the green light. I’ll let Washington Bikes take this one for a victory lap. They earned […]

  7. Charlie Greenwood

    It should be called Bike Route 20 since it follows Highway 20. I get it confused with Old US 10 remnants of which still exist paralleling Interstate 90. We like to do bike tours along those.

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